Nitric oxide-mediated inhibition of Hdm2-p53 binding

Academic Program

Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology

UMMS Affiliation

Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences; Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology; Department of Cell Biology

Publication Date


Document Type



Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


It has become increasingly evident that nitric oxide exerts its effects, in part, by S-nitrosylation of cysteine residues. We tested in vitro whether nitric oxide may indirectly control p53 by S-nitrosylation and inactivation of the p53 negative regulator, Hdm2. Treatment of Hdm2 with a nitric oxide donor inhibits Hdm2-p53 binding, a critical step in Hdm2 regulation of p53. The presence of excess amounts of cysteine or dithiothreitol blocks this inhibition of binding. Moreover, nitric oxide inhibition of Hdm2-p53 binding was found to be reversible. Sulfhydryl sensitivity and reversibility are consistent with nitrosylation. Finally, we have identified a critical cysteine residue that nitric oxide modifies to disrupt Hdm2-p53 binding. This cysteine is proximal to the Hdm2-p53 binding interface and is conserved across species from zebrafish to humans. Mutation of this residue from a cysteine to an alanine does not interfere with binding but rather eliminates the sensitivity of Hdm2 to nitric oxide inactivation.

DOI of Published Version



Biochemistry. 2002 Nov 19;41(46):13570-4.

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